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Hampshire County animal cruelty case involves endangered cows

Quickly, they discovered eight of the nine cows they rescued are an endangered breed.
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 1:52 PM EDT
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HADLEY, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s a case of animal cruelty with a twist in Hampshire County. A Hadley resident is facing 35 counts after the MSPCA is called in to remove dozens of animals from a farm in Amherst.

Quickly, they discovered eight of the nine cows they rescued are an endangered breed.

“In general, when these things happen, we get a phone call into our hotline,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs for MSPCA Angell.

A Kerry calf is among eight of the very rare cattle that will eventually be ready for adoption...
A Kerry calf is among eight of the very rare cattle that will eventually be ready for adoption at Nevins Farm(MSPCA-Angell)

After receiving a tip that something was wrong at a farm in Amherst, animal welfare officers from the MSPCA arrived in Hampshire County on March 14. They discovered nearly two dozen goats and close to a dozen cattle that they said were neglected, malnourished, and infected with parasites.

“Whenever we’re dealing with large animals that are thin, we’re talking about a couple of hundred pounds of body weight they need to put back on,” Keiley noted.

However, something that caught the attention of Keiley and other officials with the MSPCA was the type of cows they discovered.

“It’s very unusual to see this breed,” Keiley added.

Keiley said the majority of the cows are ‘Kerry’ cattle, an endangered breed originally from Ireland. This led to a connection with the American Kerry Cattle Association.

“We’ve been working closely with them to preserve this breed, which is an exciting twist to it because normally, in these situations, we’re just laser focused on getting the animals out of a situation that’s not safe for them,” Keiley explained.

A Holstein cow and rare Kerry cattle are among animals that are recovering at Nevins Farm after...
A Holstein cow and rare Kerry cattle are among animals that are recovering at Nevins Farm after recently being surrendered from an Amherst property(MSPCA-Angell)

The MSPCA has been rehabbing the animals at Nevins Farm in Methuen and the cows and goats will soon be ready to find a new home. Keiley said the fact that these cows are part of an endangered breed should open up more opportunities for them.

“Our goal here is to find them an adoptive home where they’re going to be cared for throughout their life and there’s just not a lot of options for that. However, where it is a rare breed, there is a lot of interest in preserving this breed. The American Kerry Cattle Association is working with us to find people that could take them on to their property and give them a good life,” Keiley said.

A veterinarian with the MSPCA had to euthanize one cow and two goats at the scene due to their condition.

Shannon Rice-Nichols of Hadley faces 35 counts of felony animal cruelty and will be arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court on May 12.